Berlin has never had a centrally-located train station. Until now mainline trains have stopped at different main stations in the city's east and west sectors. This has caused confusion for visitors as care has had to be taken to use the correct station when say heading for cities such as Rostock, Leipzig, Hamburg or Frankfurt.
But joining or alighting from a long distance train will become much simpler from May 28 when Deutsche Bahn's new Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Central Station) opens. This enormous station (which every day will be handling 300,000 passengers arriving and departing on 750 trains) is located half way between the present main stations in the east and western parts of the city. It will become Berlin's main rail hub handling services running east-west and north-south through the city. The hub will be fed by local (S-Bahn) trains along with regional (Regional Bahn) services.
Simplifying train routes in the Berlin area allows timings on some key routes to be cut by 40 minutes. For example, trains running to Hamburg from Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Hbf) will take 2 hrs 40 mins as against the 3 hrs 20 mins currently taken from Berlin Zoo (the main station in the western area). From May 28 similar reductions will be made available on routes to Leipzig and Dresden.
In other Deutsche Bahn news, the opening of a new 90km stretch of 300 kph track in Bavaria on May 28 will cut 25 mins from the fastest trains linking the key cities of Munich and Nuremberg. The journey will now be accomplished in 80 mins and train service will be stepped up to a half-hourly frequency from December 10.
For more information go to bahn.co.uk
Report by Alex McWhirter